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Let’s distill the construct_runtime! macro

The construct_runtime! macro is an essential part of building a Substrate runtime. This macro is responsible for tying together the various pallets that compose a runtime, making them interact with each other, and exposing their APIs to the outside world (like RPC, extrinsics, etc.). It's like the glue that binds your blockchain together.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what happens when this macro is not provided with sufficient information required for your runtime compile, as well as in-depth information about this macro and how to configure it to make sure your runtime works as intended.

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Reproducing errors

Environment and project set up

To follow along with this tutorial, ensure that you have the Rust toolchain installed.

git clone

  • Navigate into the project’s directory.
cd construct-runtime

  • Run the command below to compile the node.
cargo build --release

While attempting to compile the node above, you’ll encounter an error similar to the one below:

error[E0277]: the trait bound `RuntimeEvent: From<pallet_identity::Event<Runtime>>` is not satisfied
--> /workspace/NextSimpleStarter/construct_runtime/runtime/src/
266 | type RuntimeEvent = RuntimeEvent;
| ^^^^^^^^^^^^ the trait `From<pallet_identity::Event<Runtime>>` is not implemented for `RuntimeEvent`
= help: the following other types implement trait `From<T>`:
<RuntimeEvent as From<frame_system::Event<Runtime>>>
<RuntimeEvent as From<pallet_balances::Event<Runtime>>>
<RuntimeEvent as From<pallet_grandpa::Event>>
<RuntimeEvent as From<pallet_sudo::Event<Runtime>>>
<RuntimeEvent as From<pallet_template::Event<Runtime>>>
<RuntimeEvent as From<pallet_transaction_payment::Event<Runtime>>>
note: required by a bound in `pallet_identity::Config::RuntimeEvent`
--> /workspace/.cargo/git/checkouts/substrate-7e08433d4c370a21/98f2e34/frame/identity/src/
108 | type RuntimeEvent: From<Event<Self>> + IsType<<Self as frame_system::Config>::RuntimeEvent>;
| ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ required by this bound in `Config::RuntimeEvent`

For more information about this error, try `rustc --explain E0277`.
error: could not compile `node-template-runtime` (lib) due to previous error

This error is saying that the From<pallet_identity::Event<Runtime>> is not implemented for RuntimeEvent. It's telling you that the RuntimeEvent type is expected to implement the From<pallet_identity::Event<Runtime>> trait, but it doesn't.

The construct_runtime! macro in Substrate creates an overarching enum type, RuntimeEvent, which represents all possible events that can be emitted by pallets included in your runtime. When you include a pallet, for example, pallet_identity, in the construct_runtime! macro, the macro automatically adds a variant to this RuntimeEvent enum for the pallet's events. The RuntimeEvent enum then implements the From trait of the specific pallet's event type (in this case, From<pallet_identity::Event<Runtime>>) This trait implementation enables automatic conversion (or "upcasting") from a pallet-specific event type (pallet_identity::Event<Runtime>) to the generic RuntimeEvent type. This allows any pallet event to be treated as a generic event in the runtime.

But since pallet_identity is not included in the construct_runtime! macro, the macro does not include the pallet_identity::Event<Runtime> variant in the Event enum. Consequently, the From<pallet_identity::Event<Runtime>> trait is not implemented for the RuntimeEvent enum.

However, the implementation of pallet_identity::Config for your runtime expects that the RuntimeEvent type implements the From<pallet_identity::Event<Runtime>> trait. Since this is not the case, the compiler throws an error.

Solving the error

  • Go to the file of your node’s runtime.

  • Add pallet_identity to the construct_runtime! macro.

pub struct Runtime where
Block = Block,
NodeBlock = opaque::Block,
UncheckedExtrinsic = UncheckedExtrinsic,
// ----- *snip* ------
Identity: pallet_identity, //<------ add this line

Including pallet_identity in the construct_runtime macro does a couple of things.

  • It adds it as a variant in the RuntimeEvents enum

  • It implements From<pallet_identity::Event<Runtime>> for the RuntimeEvents type, which satisfies the trait requirements for pallet_identity::Config::RuntimeEvents

  • Re-compile the node

cargo build --release

Going in-depth

The construct_runtime! macro in Substrate is a declarative macro that enables you to compose your blockchain runtime by specifying a selection of individual pallets. The macro generates boilerplate code to glue these pallets together into a cohesive whole.

Each pallet declaration includes:

  • The unique Identifier that represents the pallet.
  • The path::to::pallet, which specifies where the pallet's definition can be found.
  • An optional ::<InstanceN> part if the pallet supports multiple instances.
  • A comma-separated list of parts enclosed in {}. These parts, like Pallet, Call, Storage, Event<T>, Origin<T>, Config<T>, etc., represent different components of the pallet. They are used to export the pallet's functionalities correctly in the runtime and its metadata.
YourPallet: pallet_your_pallet::{Pallet, Call, Storage, Event<T>, Config<T>},

In this example, YourPallet is the unique identifier for the pallet, and pallet_your_pallet is the path to the pallet's definition. The parts within {} represent different components of the pallet that you want to include in the runtime, such as the pallet's main logic (Pallet), extrinsic calls (Call), storage (Storage), events (Event<T>), and configuration (Config<T>).

You can also assign an index to each pallet using = $n, which is used to encode the pallet's variants in types like OriginCaller, Call, and Event. This is particularly useful for larger-scale projects, where multiple pallets may be interacting, as it helps trace the flow of events and calls. It also allows for better error tracing and debugging, as it's immediately clear from the encoded data which pallet an event or call is associated with.

The macro is also responsible for associating your runtime’s concrete type implementations with the pallet’s types. For example, if a pallet requires a Currency trait with an associated type Balance, and you've implemented Currency for your runtime with Balance as u32, the construct_runtime! macro ensures that Currency::Balance in that pallet is replaced with u32.

For each included pallet, the construct_runtime! macro generates a type alias mapping the pallet to the runtime. This allows the pallet's functionalities to be accessed under the given identifier in the runtime and makes it easier to differentiate between multiple instances of the same pallet. For example, an alias for one instance of the collective pallet might be “Council” and another alias could be “Technical Committee”. These aliases ensure that you can easily identify and interact with the intended pallet.

The construct_runtime! macro also handles events emitted by the pallets. It creates a RuntimeEvent enum type that includes variants for each pallet's events. RuntimeEvent implements the From trait of the respective pallet's event types, allowing the events to be converted into the overarching RuntimeEvent type.

This enables a unified way of handling events from different pallets. However, if you remove a pallet from the construct_runtime! macro, the associated From trait implementation is also removed. Consequently, the construct_runtime! macro will no longer generate the variant corresponding to that pallet’s event type. This would mean that events from that pallet are no longer acknowledged by the runtime's RuntimeEvent enum. More crucially, the macro will not generate the From trait implementation for the pallet’s event type on the RuntimeEvent enum. This implementation is crucial as it allows events coming from the pallet to be transformed into the generic RuntimeEvent type.

As a result, if there is still code in your runtime that deals with such a pallet and its events directly, it will fail to compile because RuntimeEvents no longer acknowledges the event type of that pallet.


In this Substrate in Bits content, we delved into the construct_runtime! macro, a crucial component in building a Substrate runtime. This macro facilitates the assembly of various pallets that constitute a runtime, orchestrates their interaction, and exposes their APIs for external use, thereby serving as the “adhesive” that binds a runtime together.

The article extensively explained what transpires when this macro lacks sufficient information for runtime compilation. It also provides an in-depth view of the macro's configuration and its role in ensuring smooth operation of your runtime with a step-by-step tutorial to reproduce and resolve a common error encountered when a pallet's event variant is missing in the construct_runtime! macro, using the pallet_identity as an example.

The construct_runtime! macro's function is broken down in detail, from pallet declaration, which includes elements like the unique Identifier, path to the pallet, optional instances, and different components, to assigning an index to each pallet for ease of debugging and tracing events. We also discussed how the macro associates the runtime's concrete type implementations with the pallet's types and handles events emitted by the pallets by generating a RuntimeEvent enum type. If a pallet is removed from the construct_runtime! macro, the associated From trait implementation is also omitted, leading to potential compilation errors.

Thus, understanding the construct_runtime! macro is vital for developers working with the Substrate framework, as it brings the various moving parts of the blockchain together.

To learn more about the concepts discussed in this guide, here are some resources that we recommend:

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